5 questions all pastors should ask about generosity
By Alan Wildes
I am like most people during the month of January. I look back on the previous year and reflect on the good, the not so good, the accomplishments and the things that need improving.
Did you write down goals for yourself for 2013 as it pertains to generosity?
Churches and pastors do as well. As we move into 2013 I have 5 questions I think pastors should ask themselves as it pertains to giving and generosity. These are questions pastors should be asking all of the time, but the beginning of the new year is an especially effective time to do so.
January is a time to reflect and to look forward. However, if we only reflect in our minds but do not make adjustments and changes then we are missing the point.
- Am I giving and living as generously as I should?
- When was the last time you sat with your spouse and family and prayerfully discussed what your family gives financially and in other areas?
- How you and your spouse feel about giving and what you tell your people about your giving will set the pace for your people.
- People will not run faster than their leader.
- If you have children at home you have to be their spiritual leader. You canít assume that your children are getting it from somewhere else. We all know what happens when we assume.
- Radical generosity in a church begins with the senior leader's example.
- Do my staff members live and give generously?
- Most pastors assume their staff members give & give generously.
- Do you know what your staff members give financially?
- Is it a set expectation for your staff members to give generously?
- Do you ask them about financial generosity in their annual review?
- Radical generosity in a church begins with the senior leader's example with the staff trailing right behind.
- Do I preach/teach on generosity enough for my people to understand what it means to live generously?
- Most pastors preach/teach on generosity as much as they talk about it with their families. So, go back to question #1 and you will find your answer to question #3.
- You can talk about financial giving too much. No doubt.
- However, you cannot talk about living generously too much. Living generously is much more than money.
- I would encourage you to take the 52 week generosity challenge.
- The 52 week generosity challenge is something I have encouraged pastors to do in the past.
- Incorporate generosity (living generously, stewardship, giving, etc) into the sermon 52 times in one year.
- At least half of them have to be on financial generosity. Donít water it down.
- Those who have taken the challenged are surprised at how easy it is to do.
- Do I feel empowered to preach/teach about financial generosity?
- If so, it is probably because your leadership team is financially generous and they want others in the church to experience the joy of giving.
- Your leaders are not uncomfortable during the sermons about financial generosity.
- Your leaders will support you on Monday morning when the emails and phone calls begin.
- If you do not feel empowered, see questions 1,2, and 3 and the first bullet of this question.
- Should I know what my people give?
- This question causes the most discussion of any topic I speak on. I firmly believe that a pastor should have access to what the people in the church give.
- See question #4.
- If you want a leadership team that empowers you to regularly teach on generosity then you should know what your people give; at a minimum know what potential leadership candidates give.
- You don't want to surround yourself with people in leadership roles who not do live and give generously.
- I do not believe that a pastor should look at the contribution list each Monday morning. We donít need to keep tabs on people.
- However, what we give says a great deal about what is going on in our lives. Numbers/Giving help to tell a personís story.
- A pastor should have an open and constant relationship with the business administrator, treasurer, executive pastor, or whoever handles the giving records.
- The pastor should be made aware of new givers, significant givers (define significant for your church), upticks and giving and downticks in giving.
- Pastors need to be able to shepherd their flock in all areas of their lives; including money.
Will you ask these questions? Will you take an honest look at your personal and professional mindset, attitude and strategy surrounding financial generosity for 2013?
Will you schedule a meeting with your leadership team to discuss these questions?
Will you write down goals for yourself for 2013 as it pertains to generosity and how you will live it, teach it, and preach it?
Guiding a church from vision to implementation takes patience, objectivity and experience. Alan has 12 years with Generis and has worked with over 100 churches. Alanís experience with local churches has reinforced his passion and ability to build relationships. Regular on site attention allows him to personally get to know each church and itsí people in order to create a generosity game plan unique to them.
A social studies teacher and baseball coach for eight years prior to becoming a generosity coach, Alan earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and his Master of Science in Education from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.